March 3, 2017
Since I did not post nor took many pictures for a while, I thought of asking dear “Jb&Fl” whether they would mind sharing with me some of their travel pictures. They agreed happily. Both are traveling in South-East Asia. The correspondances and contrasts between here and there are just amazing and so interesting. Beautiful too. Then I dug into my archives and found some images that would in some way correspond to theirs but in my part of the world (Switzerland). Here is the result, I hope you will enjoy the trip as much as I did looking at these images from far away.As a bright parasol opened under the warm sun of Myanmar (Burma),snow had been falling all day long in the Swiss Alps.
Red: such a warm color under any sky ! Here is a typical wooden house at the edge of the Inle Lake (Myanmar).On my way home on a rather dull day, I was attracted by this red barn which added some warmth to the Winter landscape.
Dogs… don’t they all sometimes have the same worried look wherever they live ?A puppy in a street somewhere in Asia. “Will you adopt me ?”Ninio at home : “Where is JB ? The only one in the family who runs almost… as fast as I do. I miss him and our games”.
Would you care for some sweets ? How about a mango and rice dessert to end your meal ? or would you prefer a choco-pistachio dome in Switzerland ?
Are you ready for more visits after a pause ? Like cruising slowly along rice fieldswhereas our own fields over here are barely out of dormancy.
Let’s walk uphill to the mountains of North Myanmar or walk on a mountain path facing some of the Swiss Alps ?
It has been a long day of walking and visiting , admiring the golden domes of the many magnificent ancient temples in South-East Asia. Let’s walk into the old Gothic church (St-Michel) of Fribourg and have a rest while listening to classical music.
The sun is setting down now, warm colors over the horizon, several dark silhouettes of temples in the Far-Eastand, on a misty day, an unusual pink shade at sunset over a farm in my village.Thanks a lot “Jb&Fl” for sharing your beautiful pictures with me and the visitors of my blog. It was a real pleasure to bring our worlds together and to see through your eyes. How difficult to choose pictures amongst all of them ! Maybe there will be another post about your future travels and visits in Asia ? Take care and all the best. Love.
March 26, 2016
May the sun rays over the Alps bring you light and warmth in your heart.
I hope you will rejoice and smile at the brightness of these fresh Spring flowers. A true renewal of Season.
Peace and love to all in those troubled times and let us not forget to stay strong and keep Hope alive.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Easter !
February 14, 2016
I wish you all a Happy Valentine’s Day !
This small heart, made of joyful scraps weaved together like a tapestry of friendship and love between us all, is my gift for you. I had so much pleasure sewing it slowly, seeing how simple stitches could create such movement on the various materials (cotton and wild silk). This is just the beginning of a new technique I discovered in a book by Claire Wellesley-Smith “Slow Stitch” (mindful and contemplative textile art).
Many Valentine’s gifts of all kinds are shown in our shops. I chose a window presenting books for children. Love stories with happy endings, questions like “What is Love” ? and many more tales about those unforgettable friendships with a beloved dog, a horse or a rabbit.Maybe these books will remind you of those of your childhood or the ones you read to your kids later on ? I do remember “The Family Bear’s Picnic”, a book brought back from the States and that I read countless times to my sons. Being in English, I had to translate this story for them every evening for quite a long time. Sometimes I would not find the very same word as the night before and…it was a drama: “No, no, Papa Ours (bear) did not say that !” or “His sandwich was made with ham and not cheese”! Memories of love that made me smile today.Nature offers us hearts and signs of love in places you do not always expect them. Like this piece of snow stuck between two branches and that I had not noticed when taking the picture. In fact, I was more attracted by the setting sun caught in the forest. Hasn’t it got a shape of a heart too ?And here is another gift of friendship and gratefulness for you on Valentine’s Day. Thankfulness for your visits and support even though I have not been regularly posting and visiting you these days. This is the landscape I saw this morning as I opened the shutters of the chalet up in the Alps. I am never tired of looking at it, morning or evening, at sunrise or sunset, in Winter or in Summer.Wishing you well on Valentine’s Day and on the other days too 🙂
October 17, 2014
On a hot Summer evening under the roof of his attic apartment. my eldest son was busy preparing a Thai meal to celebrate my birthday. Great concentration for adding the many ingredients that were chosen for this special and delicious meal. Thanks JB !
The problem was that our Summer was so cold and rainy that picnics were too rare. Fortunately Autumn has started beautifully and warmly. Sooner or later the colorful blanket will be part of a joyful day in the open.
Oh, the great moments I spent reading these books during last Spring and Summer ! Not always cheerful stories but certainly all different and fascinating in many ways, locations, times, styles and characters.
I remember with emotion the outing my family and I made – as well as many cousins – to an unforgettable place in the Alps. 300 hundred years ago a major rockslide hit a small mountain village, killing many of its inhabitants and their cattle, destroying their rough wooden chalets.
Last August a day of remembrance was celebrated up on those mountain pastures where rocks are still covering much of the landscape. “Emotion”, I wrote because this area is where my mother grew up; she and her siblings used to go up there every Summer looking after the family domestic cattle. Those were hard times but “some of the best of my life”, my mother used to say. All day long I thought of her and how she would have loved to be there with us. She certainly was in my heart.
Another moment to remember of this past Summer was my father’s significant birthday ! Having owned a garage almost all his life, we thought it would be a nice surprise for him to rent an old Londonian taxi (Austin 1970) to drive him to the place where family and friends were waiting to cheering him. He was hugely surprised and absolutely delighted.
What a great moment too when I was able to pick the first apples – boscop – in the garden ! Not exactly shiny nor smooth, they are nevertheless tasty and just perfect for pies or compotes.Guess what other moments I always like to remember ? The adventurous walks Ninio leads me to. Nature in all its forms. Wild most of the time. Not that he refuses to go to my chosen destinations. But his eyes and slower pace tell me : “Now, how about going on exploration to places that smell interesting ?”
March 19, 2014
Over the past weeks it seems like I did nothing much but come and go between the mountains (4429ft) and the plains (1480ft) and yet I can assure you a lot happened in-between ! The seasonal flu’ hit several family members I looked after; Spring cleaning fever hit me too, as well as clearing out. I also took time to visit with friends here and there. During these constant trips up and down the valley, I became interested in comparing the changes of Season according to the different altitudes.
A forest of slender masts in the town of Morat, at the edge of a lake. The boats are stlll protected from the cold and the frost that can cause so much damage in Winter. Soon they will sail on the lake though.
Under an unusual mountain fog, the slate roofs of the chalets are still covered with a thick layer of snow.
whereas the old red tiled roofs of the ancient houses shine under the sun near Morat.
Snow flowers over 4000ft
and Spring first pink blossoms at the lakeside. So welcome !
Someone you know, my Nino, is almost taking off a steep slope in the mountains, a simple joy he never gets tired of,
and a thirsty dog (20°C on that particular day) taking a bath and drinking water at the edge of the lake, after playing with his master on the grass.
Typical Winter activity…
and early Spring relaxing moments at the lake.
Such are my landscapes at the moment. Winter is not yet over (far from it) and Spring is starting to shine down in the valley. I even saw apricot trees in bloom, a rare sight at the end of March. I wish you happy moments, joyful colors and a warmer sunshine in a blue sky.
En route for Spring !
May 18, 2013
So much time and patience have been needed recently to first open my PC, then read my mail and respond to it, write on the blog or read you ! My old PC definitely needs a rest or better said, a retirement after a long and good collaboration. Slowly but surely.Maybe I will go back to writing on an impressive type-writer such as this Remington from other times ? It was sitting quietly on a coffee house table.
In the meantime, I wish you a happy and sunny Spring, plenty of pictures, thoughts and experiences to share. I look forward to reading you.
Take good care of you.
See you again later. Au revoir et à bientôt.
October 22, 2012
Grape harvest is over in most areas of my canton (Valais). Some grapes will have to wait for a mid November harvest though. The wine produced then will have more flavour, sweetness and this particular flavour “terroir”, from the local soil.John O’Donohue, Irish writer and philosopher, writes about “Autumn and the Inner Harvest” (Anam Cara). He tells of the four Seasons of the heart, Autumn being associated with old age.
“In the autumntime of your life, your experience is harvested. Within the harvest circle, you are able to gather lost moments and experiences, bring them together, and hold them as one”.
As in the Celtic Wisdom, O’Donohue sees Autumn as the harvest of one’s soul that gives a deeper sense of strenght, belonging and poise. A quiet delight when this time arrives in your life.
I like O’Donohue’s deep thoughts and, as I walked through those wineyards last Sunday afternoon, I remembered my mother’s words and memories of her younger years when she was helping her father taking care of their few vineyards over the same hills. It was a hard work for anyone involved. No machines were used. The work started in February/March and ended in October/November. A lot was to be learned over months and years. A harvest of knowledge and traditions were transmitted to sons and daughters, families’ links were valued and strenghtened. Most mountain villagers grew vineyards on the foothills. Their earnings were meagre and when the grapes were brought to the communal wine cellars, the gain was much appreciated. It used to be a joyful and singing crowd which walked down to the valley early in the morning (5-6am) during the season of grape harvest. Sometimes, on lucky days, a postal bus would drive the villagers and winegrowers down to the vineyards. After a long day’s work under a hot sun the return home up to the little villages was much quieter. Bodies hurt and voices kept silent. Of course there was a big celebration at the end of the harvest. It coincided with this other tradition that is still present nowadays : roasted chestnuts (brisolée). A feast when served with various kinds of cheese, cold meats, rye bread/butter, grapes and apple pie; we also drink must (grape juice not fermented yet). A simple and delicious meal-of-the-season.
All those thoughts and more went through my mind during my afternoon walk. I wished my mother would have been there with me, holding my arm, smiling, commenting, remembering and gleaning the few grapes that were forgotten or left for visitors or birds or beagles 😉 Yes, Nino was with me and I had some trouble keeping him close to me, especially when we walked near this beautiful vineyard (below) that had not been harvested yet.
In a photo album, I found this old picture of grape harvest in our area, Valais. My mother could have been there making a pause and chatting with friends. Those days are long gone….
September 8, 2012
Some weeks just go by their own quiet way and rhythm. I do not mean a routine because there seems to be something special in each day. In some weeks though there are events out of the ordinary, people and places you will remember. The week described here was one of those.
Monday is sometimes a day when I try cooking new recipes. Pies or quiches are amongst my favourites. Some of them I find reading blogs such as Tammy’s. Her blog is not only about food but also about community supported agriculture. Well worth reading.
The recipe is about a tomato pie. Since I had a big and beautiful zuchini waiting to be picked in the garden, I added some of it in the pie (grated and grilled a little). This is the only change I made. It tasted really delicious, Thank you very much, Tammy.
On Tuesday I had to go to town and found a quiet lane to walk for a while with Nino-the-beagle. Guess whom we met ? Another beagle looking lonely behind a fence. What do two beagles say to each other when they meet : “Let’s escape together and go hunting !”
Wednesday morning. Brilliant clouds welcomed me as I opened the shutters. “O, beautiful golden clouds, what will you bring us on this day” ? As it happened, the warm morning turned into a stormy day. A rather temperamental weather this Summer but a rain that was well needed too.
A short break after work on Thursday afternoon. As we were sitting on a bench with a friend, a “school-boat” was floating down the canal. A lady was steering the little boat back to its mooring. Not as simple as it looks and she did very well.
On Saturday morning at our friend’s home, we were awaken by a ballet of helicopters. Every third minute or so, a helicopter would fly over the area, fill a big bucket of water (700 liters) and pour it down on the forest which had caught fire during the night. It took the pilots two whole days to stop it. Nobody was injured and the damage could be stopped in time.
Sunday was a happy celebration day ! Family and friends gathered around Alima, our youngest niece. The sun shone brightly for her. There were prayers, songs, dance and lots of African food and music. Another change of scenery in this particular week. Alima was quite comfortable and relaxed dancing in her proud grandmother’s arms.
Guess what I did on Sunday ? After a rest following the previous long day, I sat down on a lovely terrace between sky and earth, took my pen and some nice stationary; I wrote to a dear friend all about my recent week. Internet is not part of her world and we both enjoy exchanging letters every month.
August 20, 2012
How about photo assignement this month ? Here is one proposed by Karen at http://karmardav.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/photo-hunt-inspiration-and-early-announcement/
The deadline is August 31st and the theme is about the place(s) that would represent the “End of the earth” for you. Karen explains all about it in her blog (see above link, please).
Looking through some of my recent and older pictures, I found some images that I thought would show you my vision of the end of the earth.
A hamlet up in the Swiss Alps. About 15 people live there all year round. Both sides of the mountain slopes seem to close in front of the small village. On a foggy day the chalets look isolated, almost lost in the forest. To me it does look like the end of the earth. When the sun is out though the high mountains all around offer you a different sight: a quiet little village from where you could start hiking to the mountain pastures.
On a brighter side, here is a man doing paragliding; it looks as if he is heading to the end of the earth… A view that made me dizzy and envious of the infinite space that lay all around him and that is so difficult to imagine.
Austral mountains and forests stretching out to the horizon. No visible village nor town nearby. No hikers to be seen around. The only sounds were the calls of the noisy cockatoes. A sure feeling of being at the end of the earth.
As for the “extreme” type of picture I felt like adding to Karen’s photo hunt, I chose this one. I took it a few years ago as I was walking along a mountain trail. Two boys were cycling and they stopped in front of a trail going down the slope. So steep that I would have hesitated to walk down there myself. I barely had time to ask : “Are you sure you…” and down they went !
September 22, 2011
Fall is about to start and I have not shared much of my Summer with you…
These past weeks have just flown by ! No real stress but various activities that kept me away from the PC. Let’s have a look at some of my Summer windows that will tell you a little more.
There were several friends who stayed at home for a while. Together we visited the old town of Fribourg and some of the small workshops. Behind the bars, an old low-ceilinged room or rather a real Aladdin’s cave with antique furnitures, lamps, dishes, jewels, coins, precious fabrics, and so much more. Having decided a while ago to do some serious clearing up, I resisted buying anything. Do not think though that I have not thought of it !In the same area of the old town, behind St-Nicholas’ Cathedral, there is a small art gallery I visit now and then. I went there with other friends on a rainy Sunday morning. A very colourful and joyful exhibition welcomed us. A painter/textile artist and a ceramist had created special artworks that I will show you in more details later. The gallery window showed a big white canvas where the Italian artist had sewn or stuck all kinds of fabrics and other materials. Fascinating ! And so inspiring. This is part of the view from our car window as we drove to the mountains with the family. Italy is right behind those mountains on the right but on that particular day we turned left to the Alps and the village where we took part in a family celebration.
Another view from our car window. We were driving on a highway along the Lake of Geneva. Switzerland is on your right, the French shore on the left. The city of Geneva lies on the far end of the lake. On a clear day, at any hour but especially at sunset this landscape is just breathtaking. Can you spot the first autumnal mist on the French side ? Just in case you wonder about these two pictures … I was not the driver.
Up in the mountains and strolling through an almost abandonned hamlet. A young couple whose great-grandparents had lived there earlier had decided to restore their chalet. They started with the roof and the windows. I must say it was a happy and encouraging sight for this tiny village is a precious memory of past times although modern additions (road, electricity…) make life easier up there.
A daily hike to high mountain pastures (about 7000ft). Two energetic dogs were so happy to meet and run together : a tourist Beagle 😉 (my Ninio) and a resident Jack Russel. A young French lady lives in the small stone house for the Summer Season while the cows graze up there. Her window opens on a bare landscape but for a few “arolle” trees. There are a special kind of pines (Pinus Cembra) which resist the low temperatures in Winter. Her window also opens on a vast corrie of mountains. The lady is the cheese maker of this particular pasture. The large round pieces of cheese she produces are very sought-after for their particular taste. If cows could speak, they would tell you how good the grass tastes up there with all the wild flowers covering the pastures from June till end of August.This is my kitchen window at home. One I never tire to look through at any Season. At this time of the year the greenness is dazzling. The rowan-tree attracts lots of birds who take their turn more or less patiently to eat its berries. It is noisy, happily so. The wheat field is blazing under the sun. In the evening I love to stand there and watch the sun disappearing slowly behind the forest. I am so lucky – and grateful – to live so close to nature !
Now, this is a window I could honestly have done without… Its unfathomable darkness saddens me so much. After camera and printer let me down, my laptop refused to respond and start. Yes ! Three devices I took for granted for years just went blank at a few months interval. I must add they all had almost the same age and probably were tired of working. Or of me, who knows ? This black window is also a reason why I did not post much lately. I had to rely on other computers not always available. Now I am back to the family’s old PC. I cross my fingers – and toes – for the good old computer to last until I can offer myself a new computer !
Not being able to post much had also advantages : I read and sewed more 🙂
More about it later. So I hope !